Leonard J. Francl Obituary

October 14, 1949 - July 26, 2005

Leonard J. FranclLeonard J. Francl, Professor and Head of the Plant Pathology Department at the Pennsylvania State University, died Tuesday, July 26, 2005 in Port Matilda. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer. With the support of Centre Crossing Hospice, Leonard was able to remain at home with his family during his final weeks.

Leonard's passion was helping people. He believed that agricultural research could lead to a better life for people all over the world. He attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where he earned his BS with high distinction (1974) and MS (1975) in Agriculture.

He was instructor of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri from 1976-1981. He earned his Ph. D. in Plant Pathology at the University of Missouri in 1985. He did post-doctoral work at the Ohio State University in Wooster, Ohio (1985-1988) and worked as a research plant pathologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland (1988-1990).

He was a professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota (1990-2002) where he specialized in the epidemiology of wheat diseases and developed the NDSU Small Grains Disease Forecasting System.

Leonard was named Head of the Penn State Plant Pathology Department in July 2002. At Penn State, Leonard felt he'd found his home. He greatly enjoyed leading the department, and kept working as long as possible during his illness. Leonard found great satisfaction in the success of his colleagues and students, and worked to help them grow to their full potential. Though busy with the department, he always took time to answer plant pathology questions from growers and farmers in Pennsylvania and around the world.

Leonard was born October 14, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Florence Meyer and Laddie J. Francl. He grew up in Riverside, Illinois. He married Camille Bloomfield in 1978, and they had three children whom he loved very much. Leonard was always quick with a joke and had a famously dry wit. Everyone appreciated his sense of humor and generosity, which he kept throughout his illness. He is survived by his wife Camille; children Luke, Ember, and Alyssa; and siblings Fred, Tom, Mary, and Anne. Leonard was interred at Friends Cemetery Thursday, July 28.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, August 5 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 867 Gray's Woods Boulevard, State College, PA 16803.

Memorial contributions for the advancement of the study of plant disease may be made to the Penn State University, care of the Leonard J. Francl Memorial Endowment in Plant Pathology, 211 Buckhout Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, (814) 865-7448.

Return to the Leonard J. Francl Memorial Endowment.

Luke Francl